Mozambique president Nyusi promises to restore peace in gas-rich Cabo Delgado

President Filipe Nyusi of Mozambique said on Wednesday that the government will work to restore peace in the country following a deadly militant attack near multibillion-dollar gas projects sponsored by international oil companies last month. 

“We will make all efforts to return peace to our country, in particular in the north, in Cabo Delgado which in recent years has been the target of terrorist attacks,” he said during an address to the Mozambique Mining, Energy and Oil and Gas conference in Maputo.

On March 24, militants attacked Palma, a coastal town near liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects that are expected to change Mozambique’s economy. After nearly two weeks, the army was able to secure the area.

Due to the unrest, Total (TOTF.PA) has halted work on its $20 billion project, and all of its employees have been evacuated, according to reports. However, when work on the project will resume is unknown.

Exxon (XOM.N) has yet to receive final approval for its Rovuma LNG project, which is located nearby. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting price shock in oil and gas markets as demand plunged last year, the US oil major postponed its final investment decision. 

For Mozambique, the stakes are extremely high. Peace, Nyusi said, is a “fundamental condition” for the projects’ progress, and he urged all stakeholders to work together to resolve the crisis. 

The government expects “direct benefits” of more than $100 billion from the gas projects, according to Nyusi, diversifying the state’s revenue base and allowing for reinvestment in other areas. 

He added that the ventures are projected to create 70,000 structured jobs over the next 20 years, starting in 2022.

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